Strokestown International Poetry Festival future ‘in balance’

The future of Strokestown International Poetry Festival hangs in the balance following a cut in funding from the Arts Council.

  Fianna Fáil Deputy Eugene Murphy is set to raise the matter with the Minister for the Arts Heather Humphreys this week in a bid to have the vital funding for the Strokestown Poetry Festival reinstated. Deputy Murphy said the International Strokestown Poetry Festival was “one of the premier events on the cultural calendar” of Co. Roscommon and stressed that it was of huge “economic significance” for the Strokestown area.

  “The poetry festival has grown into a major internationally recognised event over the past 18 years and if this funding from the Arts Council is not reinstated, the future of the festival is in jeopardy. I will be meeting with Minister Humphreys this week in relation to the matter,” Deputy Murphy said.

  He said that there was extra pressure on Arts Council funding this year due to all the additional 1916 related events and he was hopeful that funding for the poetry festival would be reinstated for 2017.

  The annual festival, which has been running since 1999, costs in the region of €20,000 to host each year. However, the committee learned back in October 2015 that no funding was to be awarded for the 2016 festival, which took place earlier this month. The lack of funding for this year’s festival meant that the committee had to use its own reserve monies to make up the shortfall.

  With now depleted resources, the committee believes that unless the funding is reinstated for the 2017 event, the future of the festival is “in peril” and would have “devastating consequences for the promotion of poetry in Ireland and overseas”.